DNA Testing Links Descendant of Enslaved Grandmother County Founders

An attempt by the local historical society to preserve an antebellum house in a Chapel Hill neighborhood revealed more than expected.  Deardra Greene-Campbell tread in the footsteps of her enslaved third great-grandmother when she entered the basement of the house in the Rogers Road neighborhood.  Read the full story here.

This is a great story of serendipity in genealogy.

Latest Issue of the AAHGS Journal Now Available to Members

At long last, the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society has come back!  Articles featured in Volume 26, Issue 1 are:

Narrative of a Former Slave’s Recollection, by Patricia Carter Slubly

Register of Colored Persons of Smyth County, State of Virginia Cohabitating Together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, by Jeff Weaver

George William Warfield (1837-1919) Ex-Slave and Civil War Veteran, by Carolyn Warfield

Fugitives from Enslavement as Abstracted from Price George’s County Commissioner of Slave Statistics, by Patsy Fletcher

“Sketch of the Life and Labors of Rev. Henry Highland Garnet” A Second Look, by Kathleen Vlesor, Ed.D

Finding Emma Pullen, by Debora Pullen Plunkett

Guilford Hervey and Descendants, by Jacqueline E. A. Lawson and Cynthia A. W. Wilson

Along with the above, a call for historical and genealogical papers to submit to the journal on the theme of “African American Lives in Context” as well as book reviews on The Segregated scholars:  Black Social Scientists and the Creation of Black Labor Studies, 1890-1950, Francille Rusan Wilson (2006); and Clinging to Mammy:  The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America, Micki McElya (2007) are included.

It’s great to see the Journal back up and running again!

1906 Newspaper Article Describes Possible Slave Quarters in New York

Stephen Girard - Slave Dealer or Not?

Stephen Girard - Slave Dealer or Not?

Sometimes when you are looking for something, you find something else entirely.  Many times what you stumble across is better.  Take, for example, a bit of information gleaned from the New York Daily Tribune, Sunday, October 21, 1906, entitled Slave Cells Exhumed:

“The charge that Stephen Girard, philanthropist, was a slave dealer, is being forced upon the unwilling attention of the world by the recent discovery, in demolishing his old house at No. 22 North Water street, Philadelphia, of three tiers of underground cells that seem to have been used for the purpose of incarcerating human beings.  The dungeons are entered through a narrow corridor, the windows of which are heavily barred.  This corridor has all the appearance of being constructed for the prison patrol.  The barred windows of the cells look upon this corridor, and here.  If prisoners were kept in the rooms, the jailors could pass to give them food.  The walls at this part of the house are a foot and a half thick, of solid stone, and any unfortunate thrown into one of these dungeons would be unable to make his cries heard beyond the corridor outside the cells.  Whether they were the prisons for the old philanthropist’s rebellious slaves, whether he punished refractory seamen from his ships by giving them a course of bread and water in a dark dungeon, or whether the gloomy vaults were the temporary abiding place of slaves that Girard had bought to sell again, it seems impossible to decide.  But the cells are there as mute evidence that some queer work was done in the old Girard house and how to explain away their existence is taxing the ingenuity of more than one admirer of the patriot who lent his money to finance the war with Great Britain.”

Interestingly enough, Mr. Girard was one of the richest men in America by the time he died – behind Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Astor.  He created the Girard Bank which merged with Mellon Bank in 1993 (yes, that is not a typo) according to Wikipedia.   It appears that he all but financed the War of 1812 as well.  No wonder the good folks of Philadelphia did not want to think of him as a slave dealer.  Although Wikipedia does not mention anything about this finding, it does mention that Girard did extensive works with orphans.

In any event, it is a story worthy of follow-up for this blog and I will see what I can dig up…no pun intended.